Kyle Mizokami, National Interest: F-15 Eagle: The Air Force’s Old Fighter No Nation Wants to Fight
Like fine wine, it keeps getting better.
In the late 1980s, the F-15E was developed to supplement—and eventually replace the F-111 fighter bomber as a penetrating, high speed tactical strike aircraft designed to strike deep behind enemy lines in a NATO/Warsaw Pact war in Europe. The E model added conformal fuel tanks to increase range with a heavy bomb payload, the APG-63 radar, and a LANTRIN forward-looking infrared and laser targeting pod. With the retirement of the F-111, the F-15E “Strike Eagle” is now the USAF’s main tactical fighter bomber.
For nearly three decades, the F-15 Eagle fighter was considered the undisputed king of the skies. Until the debut of its replacement, the F-22 Raptor, the F-15 was the U.S. Air Force’s frontline air superiority fighter. Even today, a modernized Eagle is still considered a formidable opponent, and manufacturer Boeing has proposed updated versions that could keep the airframe flying for the better part of a century.
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WNU Editor: It has always been an impressive aircraft, and will be for the next few decades.